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No pads. No helmets. No fear.
That’s the tagline for the NRL advertisement being used to promote the game in the United States.
This is the first look at how rugby league is being sold to Americans, a 30-second package of big hits and spectacular tries. The footage begins in slow motion when Penrith prop Moses Leota carries the ball forward, only to have his momentum halted in a spectacular collision with the Manly defence.
That sets the tone for the clip, which highlights the physicality of the NRL. Dale Finucane and Cameron Munster are among half-a-dozen stars also involved in spectacular hits, before the focus turns to try-scoring feats. A series of spectacular put-downs, including those from Dom Young and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, as commentator Andrew Voss gasps “That is from another universe!”
Other stars who make an appearance in the advertisement include Nathan Cleary, Latrell Mitchell, Nicho Hynes and Cody Walker.
The ad, which is now being shown on America’s Fox network, ends with the words “This is rugby league.”
Some of the posters promoting the Denver Test in 2018.Credit: Adrian Proszenko
Manly will take on South Sydney in the opening match at Allegiant Stadium on March 3 [AEDT], as part of a historic double-header which also includes a clash between the Roosters and Broncos.
The NRL has already sold 15,000 tickets to the game and is hopeful of packing out the 65,000-seat stadium known as “The Death Star.”
The matches mark the first time that competition games, save for those played in New Zealand, have ever been staged outside of Australia.
The game has a chequered history in America. The last foray was the ill-fated Denver Test match between New Zealand and England, in which the promoter suffered a financial loss, resulting in the players initially being out of pocket.
On that occasion, the physical nature of the game was again a key plank of the marketing campaign, with “Big hits. No pads” among the slogans.
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